Single-Use Plastics Ban (EU)

In legal text (a Directive) adopted 27th March 2019, the European Parliament decided to address the matter of single-use plastics as follows :

(1) Single-use plastic cutlery, cotton buds, straws and stirrers to be banned by 2021

(2) 90% collection target for plastic bottles by 2029

(3) More stringent application of the “polluter pays” principle

Specifically the following Products will be banned in the EU by 2021 :

* Single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks)

* Single-use plastic plates

* Plastic straws

* Cotton bud sticks made of plastic

* Plastic balloon sticks

* Oxo-degradable plastics and food containers and expanded polystyrene cups

Member states will have to achieve a 90% collection target for plastic bottles by 2029, and plastic bottles will have to contain at least 25% of recycled content by 2025 and 30% by 2030.

The Directive will also strengthen the application of the polluter pays principle, in particular for tobacco, by introducing extended responsibility for producers. This new regime will also apply to fishing gear, to ensure that manufacturers, and not fishermen, bear the costs of collecting nets lost at sea.

In addition, the legal text agreed stipulates that labelling on the negative environmental impact of throwing cigarettes with plastic filters in the street should be mandatory, as well as for other products such as plastic cups, wet wipes and sanitary napkins.

The Directive now needs to be approved by the Council of Ministers before it enters EU law later this year. Member States will have two years to transfer the legislation into national law.

The Press Release (European Commission) is here.

I will load the Directive (once in law) into subscribers’ Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists.

Radioactive Waste Shipment (UK Brexit)

The Exit day is 12th April (the day after tomorrow) – the Exit time is 12.00 (midnight) CET

The UK Government today issued updated instructions on radioactive waste shipment – here.

Applications to import from EU countries will need to include evidence confirming that the exporter will take back the material if the shipment cannot be completed in accordance with the regulations.

Operators will need new UK documentation instead of previously used EU documentation.

Operators will now need to notify the relevant competent authority in the UK once exports to the EU are completed.

What operators need to do

1 Comply with current regulations until Exit day. These are set out in the Transfrontier Shipment of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Regulations 2008.

[subscribers to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists will not necessarily have these regulations loaded – email me if they are needed]

2 Read and understand the new Transfrontier Shipment of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. These will apply from 13th April, or any later Exit day.

[these Regulations are found in the Brexit Law List loaded into Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists]

3 Check authorisations. Operators who already have authorisations should check if they are valid by contacting the relevant competent authority.

4 Apply for an authorisation, if needed. Operators without existing authorisation will need to apply to the relevant competent authority using the authorisation of shipments form.

5 Use documentation with each shipment. Appropriate documentation must accompany each shipment. A failure in this area is a criminal offence.

6 Notify the competent authority. Operators must notify the relevant competent authority in the UK of completion of shipments using the notification of arrival form. Failing to notify them will be a criminal offence.

[the Exit day may change, please continue to follow this Blog]

Animals and Animal Products Update (UK Brexit)

The Exit day is 12th April (day after tomorrow) – the Exit time is 12.00 (midnight) CET

(1) The EU has now listed the UK as a ‘third country’. This means the EU has accepted that the UK meets the health requirements for trade with the EU. It ensures that exports of animals and animal products can continue from the UK to the EU if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. This is following a meeting yesterday.

(2) The European Commission has confirmed that the current list of UK animal byproduct-registered or approved premises will be accepted. These premises will continue to be listed with the EU for the purpose of exporting animal byproducts to the EU.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is preparing to confirm the list of these establishments with the EU.

(3) Defra is preparing to submit a list of establishments that want to export commodities other than animal byproducts to the EU.

Establishments can provide information and ask to be listed by emailing eulistings@food.gov.uk.

(4) The government will seek to bring into force UK-third country agreements from Exit day, or as soon as possible afterwards. But few are currently in force.

These new agreements will replicate existing EU agreements as far as possible. Where replacement trade agreements are not agreed, trade would take place on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms with that country. Details of each agreement will be shared with parliament and the public when they have been agreed.

(5) At the moment there is no Border Inspection Post (BIP) in Calais. BIPs are under construction that had the intention of the French authorities to be operational by the end of March.

(6) UK access to TRACES after Exit day is not confirmed.

[the Exit day may change, please continue to follow this Blog]

EU Exit regulatory position statements (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 12th April

Yesterday (1st April) the Environment Agency began issuing EU Exit regulatory position statements (UK RPS).

These set out (time-limited) environmental permitting and licensing situations where the Environment Agency will not take action for non-compliance due to EU Exit.

The first two relate to radioactive materials and radioactive waste – here.

I will add these to a separate category in the Brexit Law List (in subscribers’ Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists).

Waste Transport across borders will become more difficult and delayed after EU Exit. Make sure checks are carried out on amounts stored vis a vis EPR Schedule 3 exemption limits. Contact the Environment Agency if limits will be exceeded.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – contact the local regulator.

[the Exit day may change, please continue to follow this Blog]

Waste Storage and Shipment (UK Brexit)

Yesterday DEFRA issued a reminder to companies to check their waste movements and environmental licences and exemptions (as respects waste).

This reminder is here.

If you or your business collects, transports or stores waste that is due to be exported to the EU, your existing permit or licence still applies and you are expected to continue to meet its conditions.

Given anticipated disruption at some ports, you should make a plan to minimise any impacts on your business:

• review your own capacity and how long you can store waste on your site

• identify alternative storage facilities that could accept your waste

• assess if there are other export routes to market that avoid impacted ports

• identify any alternative recovery or disposal routes for your waste

• contact your haulage operator to discuss any potential changes to transport plans

If you do change your export route, you will also need to change your export notification. This must be agreed by the UK and overseas competent authority. In England, you can contact the Environment Agency for advice, or contact the equivalent competent authority if you are in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

If you have to keep additional waste on your site for longer than expected, you will need to consider any resulting environmental risks and take steps to keep these properly controlled.

Your contingency plans need to be compatible with the requirements on your permit. In England, if you are unable to make adequate contingency plans you should contact the Environment Agency for advice.

DEFRA waste consultations (UK)

On 18th February, DEFRA (the UK Environment Ministry) opened up a series of consultations on proposals to change the way waste is managed –

(1) reforming the UK packaging producer responsibility system – the proposals will affect producers of packaging, and plastic packaging, at all stages of the chain – here.

(2) introducing a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – the Scottish Government had launched a consultation for distinct elements of a DRS, this consultation closed on 25 September 2018 – the proposals relate to drinks containers – here.

(3) introducing a plastic packaging tax – this was announced at the 2018 Budget, to apply from April 2022 on manufactured and imported plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content – here.

Border changes : partnership pack (UK Brexit)

In a major update and bringing together of already issued instructions, the new Partnership Pack (borders) is now issued. Here

Please note the Hauliers sections, and the sections for Specialist Traders.

Note : I already posted about bi laterals in place to continue existing transboundary waste movement contracts. But note the further work that needs to be done in this area.